Register or Login to Hide This Ad for Free!
May 28, 2011
72
184
90
Hi everyone - I think I will try Halloween Haunt for the first time this year. Does anyone have any advice for a first-timer? I will be going by myself as my wife has zero interest and I think my kids are likely too young. I suspect I will be more interested in the scare zones and the general atmosphere than the mazes but would appreciate recommendations on the mazes and how to go about those best. Also interested in what you think are typically the least/most crowded days.

Thanks in advance!
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
6,177
18,392
250
If you can, avoid Saturdays and try to go on a Friday or Sunday. The difference in crowds is incredible. Sundays tend to be a little less crowded than Fridays, but the trade-off is the park closes at 10 instead of midnight.

I've decided that which maze you start with isn't as scientific as picking the first ride of the day, but my usual game plan is to hop in line for Condemned sometime between 5:30 and 6 (or going straight to Condemned on Fridays) before the line has a chance to build, then working counter-clockwise through the park, hitting Blood on the Bayou, Trick or Treat, and so forth (skip Tollway Terror if there's already a line- more on that in a second). Even on crowded nights, Cornstalkers can have almost no line if you're lucky enough to come at the right time, so try checking it out anytime past 9 or so.

Tollway Terror is sort of an exception because it's an overlay of the fixed-capacity antique cars, so lines build quickly and move slowly. If you're nearby when the attraction opens at 7 (it and Cornstalkers open an hour later than the rest of the mazes), or happen to catch a point where the line isn't massive, go for it. I don't think it's worth waiting in a line that stretches all the way down past the Flying Eagles, which actually does happen, but the attraction has really improved in recent years and has become a unique staple of Haunt.

Hope you enjoy Haunt!
 
May 28, 2011
72
184
90
Wow, thank you! Do the lines for all the mazes start forming at 5:30 or 6? Is there a “headliner” maze that’s more popular or better than the rest? What makes a maze good? (Weird question, I know, but I’ve literally never been to a Halloween theme park event before)
 
Jan 28, 2010
256
429
160
Definitely avoid Saturdays. Also, excluding opening weekend, the crowds are lighting in September than October.

Last year I believe Blood on the Bayou opened a little earlier than the others. We started there and got in line for that about 30 minutes prior to opening and got through it very quickly. The Tollway Terror line gets very long and moves slowly - but it's pretty neat since it's an actual ride. Get in line for that at the very end of the night before the park closes. They will still let everyone in line ride - so that's a way of getting a bit of extra time to enjoy it.
 

Zachary

Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
15,980
46,937
260
Virginia
Yeah, typically house lines at Haunt do start forming a little before the houses open.

Truthfully, I'd say that there's a trio of headlining mazes: Blood on the Bayou, Trick or Treat, and No Vacancy are all BEAUTIFULLY themed and incredibly well-thought-out attractions. Lockdown and CornStalkers are definitely both a step down from those top three in the scenic department, but they're not bad houses by any means. Then, rounding out the back of the pack, Blackout and Tollway Terror are sorta the gimmick attractions. That's not to say they're bad though. I think Tollway is really clever and definitely worth doing if only because it is legitimately a totally unique experience. As for Blackout, I sorta hate the concept, but I have to admit that I saw it performing incredibly well once or twice last season so I've had to temper my criticism of it some.

As for what makes a house good, I believe that the scares are the absolute most important data point in that equation. That said, when talking about the houses above, you likely noticed that I hardly talked about scares at all. The main reason for this is that theme park Halloween events are INCREDIBLY INCONSISTENT with scares. Even one minute to the next a run-through of a house can render an entirely, radically different experience. Hence, a lot of the time, houses at competent theme park Halloween events like KD's Haunt get distilled down to the quality of their scenic as it's the constant in the equation.

(PS: Haunt will spoil you with scenic. Most regional theme park Halloween events will never see a house anywhere near as beautiful as any of their top three houses and honestly most never make it anywhere near Lockdown's or CornStalkers' level either.)
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
6,177
18,392
250
There really isn't much of a set time for when lines for mazes start to form, but starting to scope things out around 5:30 (or early) is probably a good idea to get a jump on the crowds.

I don't think any one maze particularly stands out above the others, but the most consistent way of comparing them is their level of detail. Haunt's haunted houses are known for their extreme attention to detail; each maze is a permanent, year-round fixture with impeccable levels of storytelling and immersion. To this end, I think Condemned and Blood on the Bayou are the best (in part because they're the newest), but Condemned has an extra gimmick where the maze is almost entirely in the dark, and guests are given flashlights to navigate the maze and see the details.

However, the biggest factor in what makes a maze successful is its cast, and it's impossible to know which mazes will have the best team. Even Blackout, a maze literally shrouded completely in pitch blackness, can be amazing when its cast is strong. A smaller of weaker cast, however, means your best bet for enjoying a house is to take in the scenery. EDIT: What Zachary said.

Also, I forgot to mention it earlier but one of Haunt's signatures is a nightly opening performance at the Grand Bandstand near the Eiffel Tower, which starts at 7. There's a new show this year, but it should follow the same general format as in the past, wherein all the park's scare zone monsters are "summoned" and then "unleashed." It's always an incredibly cool spectacle, and the energy from the show and the crowd is unbelievable. In the past, this has consistently been my favorite part of Haunt, so don't miss it.
 
Apr 22, 2019
1,955
2,194
250
I'm a coward. I do one haunted house and I'm not sure why even one. I hate live jump scares! To make matters worse there's jump scares just walking around the park. At least all the rides are still open, though.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
11,140
29,630
260
Arlington, VA
If you are interested, we post reviews of the houses and scare zones each year, sometimes more than once. Here is my first review from last year. It may give you an idea of what we thought of each attraction. You should be able to find other reviews in that same thread, as well.

Also, I would be careful judging a house by its scenery . I think Trick or Treat is very well decorated, and incredibly boring. I’d must rather experience Lockdown, because it creates massive tension and anxiety. For me the experience is more important than the visuals.

Oh and a warning about the opening show. You essentially need to choose between getting in line early or seeing it. It is possible to watch it and then race to one of the houses, but a ton of people will already be in line.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: belsaas

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
6,177
18,392
250
Oh and a warning about the opening show. You essentially need to choose between getting in line early or seeing it. It is possible to watch it and then race to one of the houses, but a ton of people will already be in line.

I actually disagree with this tip. On Fridays, the rest of the park is roped off until 7 anyway, and on Saturdays and Sundays all of the indoor mazes have already been open for an hour by showtime. If you can position yourself towards the middle or back of the audience, and time your break from the mazes right on Saturday or Sunday, in my experience it is fairly easy to get the best of both worlds.
 

horsesboy

DarKoaster stalker
Advisory Panel
Silver Donor
Jun 16, 2013
4,856
11,047
250
You can also always post here for a meetup if you want company for mazes.
 
May 28, 2011
72
184
90
Thanks, all, this is really great information! @Nicole I will be sure to check out your reviews. I also found some videos of past events on YouTube as well, so that's helpful. Oddly enough, I was most surprised by how many young children I saw there - that seems really odd to me, personally. I know it's all fake, but it seems like it would scare the bejeezus out of a child and lead to many sleepless nights. I guess to each his or her own...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nicole and Zachary
Aug 19, 2015
81
105
90
My wife also isn't a fan of HoS or Haunt so my buddy and I go to both annually for the past 6 years. We always go to Haunt the first Friday that its open and HoS the first Sunday.The crowds are usually pretty low which means you can go through all the mazes and ride most of the rides in the 5 hours that its open. Someone mentioned above about standing in the back of the 7pm show which is a great idea. After the show, we usually head straight down to BoB and go through that and if you are a brisk walker, you can go through that maze in a very small group. From there we head to ToT, Blackout, Lockdown, Condemned, Cornstalkers, then Tollway. Of course we go through the scare zones multiple times during the night as well. I would NOT go on a Saturday unless you enjoy conga lines and riff raff.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mushroom

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
11,140
29,630
260
Arlington, VA
Oddly enough, I was most surprised by how many young children I saw there - that seems really odd to me, personally. I know it's all fake, but it seems like it would scare the bejeezus out of a child and lead to many sleepless nights. I guess to each his or her own...

Although we usually debate the question of whether little kids belong at haunts in the BGW sub-forum, we have increasingly been seeing strollers and young children at Haunt, too. In my opinion it is bad for the kids and frustrating for everyone else, because, yes, the startles alone would terrify a baby, and we have all seen frightened children in mazes crying that they want to leave.
 
Nov 24, 2009
3,539
3,779
250
I think its a bleedover problem from BGW somewhat. I have seen and heard more and more people locally (HRVA) say they are tired of HOS and are going to Haunt. Some with kids and I think they have for so long taken kids to BGW they assume/feel thats just how it is at all theme park haunts. I always find it interesting to see the parents pushing strollers loded with crap yelling at scare actors to not scare their kids. It also pisses me off when a scare actor breaks character to smile and wave to kids.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jeffh

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
11,140
29,630
260
Arlington, VA
I actually disagree for a few reasons.

First, I have been seeing strollers at KD’s Haunt for several years now. To me it looks like a systemic problem. There seems to be a shift in views about using babysitters.

Second, Cedar Fair, not SEAS, sells No Boo lanyards. That can be interpreted as a signal from the company that they are open to children at their adult Halloween events.

Finally, I have observed over the years a gradual shift at KD from a pure haunt to a more mixed event with parties, outdoor shows, and brighter paths.

I think it is unfair to blame a one park for how an event at a second park is run.
 
Nov 24, 2009
3,539
3,779
250
I actually disagree for a few reasons.

First, I have been seeing strollers at KD’s Haunt for several years now. To me it looks like a systemic problem. There seems to be a shift in views about using babysitters.

Second, Cedar Fair, not SEAS, sells No Boo lanyards. That can be interpreted as a signal from the company that they are open to children at their adult Halloween events.

Finally, I have observed over the years a gradual shift at KD from a pure haunt to a more mixed event with parties, outdoor shows, and brighter paths.

I think it is unfair to blame a one park for how an event at a second park is run.
"Blaming" BGW wasnt what I meant although I see how it reads. Locally I know alot of people who are becoming more and more frustrated with BGW and are looking for other options and KD is more and more on the radar now that they have had a sucessful winter event. People that I know had no interest in going "all the way to KD" are now more interested and many now have smaller kids and assume its run just like HOS....which like Nicole said is becoming more and more true. I can remember back to the first year of Haunt where we wouldnt even get to KD till 10 or 11pm and they closed at 2am......those were the best years.
 
Consider Donating to Hide This Ad